Customer Reviews for

The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

27 out of 28 people found this review helpful.

Here and Now

After reading happiness books like "Finding Happiness in a Frustrating World", I felt like I had a good handle on what science had uncovered about how to live a happy life and have to say that I am MUCH happier for having read them. But, while the field of positive psyc...
After reading happiness books like "Finding Happiness in a Frustrating World", I felt like I had a good handle on what science had uncovered about how to live a happy life and have to say that I am MUCH happier for having read them. But, while the field of positive psychology has made some great contributions to my happiness levels, it's books like "The Power of Now" that come along and let you know there's STILL more you can learn.

A key concept of the book (if I'm explaining it right) is that you will start to experience a certain kind of enlightenment when you learn to leave your analytical mind behind. In other words, instead of "thinking" try just "observing your thinking." And when you do this, you also need to realize that all this "thinking noise" that goes on in your head all day long is not really who you are- an enlightening concept indeed!

To that end, the book is set up in a question and answer format to help you get to understand these kinds of concepts. While it might seem ridiculous to some, it really isn't. Case in point, we all talk to ourselves or have witnessed others talking to themselves at times (maybe during a sporting event perhaps). If you ask someone who they are talking to, they will usually say "I'm talking to myself." And this, by definition, means that there have to be two "selves", an "I" talking to "myself"- and so justifies the idea of two selves (a "you" and a "thinking you" in the book).

Well, if these seem to be the kind of concepts you're ready to explore, this is your book. It raises some good questions and certainly brings up one that you can't argue with: all we have is the here and now. As the book so astutely points out, "Nothing ever happened in the past; it happened in the Now. Nothing ever happened in the future, it will happen in the Now." And learning to live in the now IS the point of the whole book.

posted by 532104 on December 5, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

9 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

Zen with blather

My therapist recommended the audio version of this book. I listened to the CDs and found the first three to be inspiring and helpful. Most certainly, dwelling in the moment is to appreciate and live life. Wasting time in anger, pain, a drug haze, or fantasy is destru...
My therapist recommended the audio version of this book. I listened to the CDs and found the first three to be inspiring and helpful. Most certainly, dwelling in the moment is to appreciate and live life. Wasting time in anger, pain, a drug haze, or fantasy is destructive and only compounds the pain. This is one of the fundamental teachings of Zen and is very well expounded by Thich Nhat Hanh in "The Miracle of Mindfulness", and by Dennis Genpo Merzel in his writings and talks. My therapist put it something like this: Most of the time, our thoughts and constant ruminations are junk. Our mind is occupied with reliving painful events, fantasizing about how we should have reacted, fantasizing about how we are going to handle some anticipated event, even being angry about things that haven't happened yet. If we can learn to let go of all that, dwell in the moment, and focus our mind on what we are doing now we are much more productive, happier, and we can appreciate our lives.

By reinforcing this, the CD set was helpful. However, I found Mr. Tolle's diversion into completely unproven theory and psychology to be distracting and sometimes laughable. As a person making who makes his living with technology, I found his explanations of human behavior and instinct as the result of interaction between positive and negative energy fields absurd. He offers no evidence for such tripe. Indeed, when a questioner asked whether he had any scientific evidence for the statement that one's molecular density decreases when practicing mindfulness, his reply was "Try it and you will become the evidence." This answer indicates that there is no evidence and caused me to doubt that Mr. Tolle even knows what scientific evidence is.

I also found his re-interpretations of cherry-picked phrases from various religious texts to reinforce his points tiresome. I doubt that many Islamic or Biblical scholars would agree with his interpretations, and he again gives no other evidence for his view. He pontificates without giving logical justification for his statements.

A colleague suggested that these "energy fields" and "pain bodies" might serve as intellectual aids to the audience. I have to dismiss this idea. People are smart enough to grasp the ideas in the book without such absurd inventions.

What the CD set did for me was give me motivation to begin practicing meditation again. I thank Mr. Tolle for that.

posted by stephen57 on September 26, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2012

    Not good

    Some good points, but the authour did not do well in delivering the point. Very redundant and mostly balbbering. Quite irritating.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 23, 2009

    It was ok

    This was the second book I read from him and found it was almost the same as the previous book I listened to. I have not finished it because it lost my interest.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 6, 2008

    No, but true

    Though I do believe in the power of now, I did not find this book readable. His writing style was confusing and did not bring me to practical usage and insights. I was more inspired by Rosalene Glickman's 'Optimal Thinking' which talked about the power of now in the most practical terms.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2008

    DULL, DULL, DULL.

    What a disappointment! I even asked for this book as a birthday present. This book is simply dull, dull, dull. There are two good things about this book: the title and the idea of living the present. That's it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2004

    Derivative and self-serving?

    I bought the audio CDs based on reviews (and the excellent title), and was sorely disappointed. The author's philosophies are a mere rehash of the 2500-year-old wisdom of Buddhism. Yet he adds little to the relevant ongoing discussions. His words did not engage my trust. In fact, that may be part of my concern: It seemed less of a discussion with the reader/listener and more of an ego-based sermon. My cult-O-meter was sending out massive alerts. Or, perhaps it was the soft, heavily-accented, and seemingly pretentious voice of the author on the CD that nearly lulled me to sleep, and sent me back to the bookstore for a full refund. But you must judge for yourself. One person's koan is another's silly joke. Maybe this guy is just on a different frequency.

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